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Africa Style: With Freedom Came Fashion Flair                             

It’s no secret that fashion has the power to transform a person’s identity. The current exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, ‘Africa Fashion,’ is a testament to how an entire continent used fashion to create a new sense of self after emerging from colonialism. Marking this wholesale change at the very outset is a wall featuring a timeline of text and documentary photography that details the consequential moments of Africa’s 20th-century liberation struggles. Video monitors offer film footage of key ceremonies, such as the 1957 formation of the Republic of Ghana. On an adjacent wall are the flags of all 54 countries in Africa, their insignia and heraldry explained. The exhibition seems quite intentionally based in the history of independence movements; Christine Checinska, the curator who led the team that organized the original exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London affirmed this, saying that for her it was crucial for viewers to understand that the clothing has “a political dimension.”